FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 6, 2011
SCHUMER CALLS FOR FEINBERG TO BE APPOINTED SPECIAL MASTER FOR 9/11 ZADROGA HEALTH FUND
Schumer Cites Feinberg's Experience and Expertise in Administering Highly Successful 9-11 Victims Compensation Fund and Gulf Disaster Fund
Feinberg Agrees to Administer Fund Pro-Bono
Schumer: Feinberg Has Unique Expertise and Stellar Reputation for Fairness and Efficiency, Would be the Best Choice to Administer the Fund
US Senator Charles E. Schumer called on Attorney General Eric Holder, today, to appoint Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq., as Special Master for the 9/11 James Zadroga Health and Compensation Fund, which was signed into law by President Obama on January 02, 2011. The 9/11 Health and Compensation Fund provides $4.3 billion in medical treatment to first responders who were sickened after responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in the days and weeks after September 11, 2001. The US Attorney General has the sole authority to appoint the administrator of the fund.
“We must ensure fairness and efficiency and I can think of no one more qualified and respected than Ken Feinberg to ensure this compensation system immediately addresses the healthcare needs of the heroes who were sickened after coming to the defense of their country. Our first 9-11 first responders have waited long enough,” said Senator Schumer. “He did a first-rate job as the Special Master of the original 9-11 Victim Compensation Fund and I have every confidence he will do the same now.”
Kenneth Feinberg was previously appointed by former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft to serve as the Special Master of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund for 33 months after the attacks and helped distribute compensation to over 5,200 eligible victims. During his time as Special Master, the Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 was administered from beginning to end at a total overhead cost of less than 3% of all the public funds distributed to eligible claimants, one of the most cost effective government programs in American history. Feinberg was also appointed by President Barack Obama as the independent administer of the $20 billion Gulf Spill Independent Claims Fund, this past June.
Mr. Feinberg, in a letter to Schumer, has volunteered to serve as Special Master of the new fund, without any compensation and at no cost to the government. In his letter, he also indicated he would be able to administer the program with the same minimal overhead he was able to with the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.
While the law requires the fund be operational no later than 180 days after the bill was signed into law, Schumer recently called for the fund to be operational and assuming first responder health costs by Memorial Day, 2011. Schumer noted Mr. Feinberg’s track record would make that entirely possible.
The Honorable Eric Holder
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I respectfully write in my capacity as Senior Senator from New York and original co-sponsor of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010, enacted by Congress on December 22, 2010, to recommend that Kenneth R. Feinberg, Esq. be re-appointed as Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). Pursuant to Section 404(a) of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (49 U.S.C. 40101 note), the Attorney General has the authority to appoint the Special Master of the Victim Compensation Fund.
Mr. Feinberg has the experience, expertise, and energy necessary to ensure that the VCF is administered in the most efficient and effective manner possible. As you know, Mr. Feinberg was previously appointed by Attorney General Ashcroft to serve as the Special Master of that Fund for some 33 months and helped distribute compensation to over 5,200 eligible victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During his time as Special Master, the Victim Compensation Fund of 2001 was administered from beginning to end at a total overhead cost of less than 3% of all the public funds distributed to eligible claimants (undoubtedly the most cost effective government program in American history).
Mr. Feinberg recently informed me that, if requested by the Administration, he would be honored to serve once again as Special Master of the new Fund, and he would do so pro bono without any receipt of compensation. He has also indicated that he anticipates the new program would be administered at approximately the same level of de minimis overhead cost.
I thank you for your attention to this important matter, and am eager to work with you to ensure that the 9/11 first responders receive just compensation for their claims as promptly and fairly as possible.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator